CITY OF SAN DIEGO
COUNCILMEMBER SHERRI S. LIGHTNER DISTRICT ONE
December 15, 2010
Council member David Alvarez, Chair, Natural Resources & Culture Committee
Councilmember Sherri S. Lightner
Developing a Comprehensive Policy for a Sustainable Water Su
Iy in San Diego
San Diego's economy and quality of life depend on a reliable and relatively inexpensive supply of water. The City of San Diego needs to establish guiding principles through which we will ensure that our water supply remains both secure and affordable. A document of guiding principles has been useful in our work on ending the structural budget deficit, and a similar document for water will guide the City Council's deliberation on the Urban Water Management Plan, future updates to the Long-Range Water Resource Management Plan and other future water-related decisions. The City's existing guiding principles for water can be found in a patchwork of incompatible and out-of-date Council Policies, including Council Policies 400-09, 400-11, and 400-12. We must start the process of creating a new "Comprehensive Policy for a Sustainable Water Supply in San Diego" (hereafter, "Comprehensive Water Policy") to contain our guiding principles for water and replace these outdated Council Policies. This memo first highlights some of the limitations of our existing Council Policies regarding water. It then provides suggested components of a new "Comprehensive Water Policy." City Council should begin by discussing the proposed new policy at the Natural Resources and Culture Committee and then work with the City Attorney's office, Water Department staff, the Independent Rates Oversight Committee (IROC), stakeholder groups and the public to craft a final version of the policy. After City Council approval, the elements of this policy will serve as San Diego's guiding principles in seeking a secure water future.
Page 2 Alvarez December 15, 2010
EXISTING POLICIES The existing Council Policies related to water were all developed ten or more years ago and were adopted at different times. They contain different goals and objectives which are not always consistent. Some of the limitations of the existing policies are as follows: •
CP 400-09, "Action Plan for City's Future Water SuppIY,,,1 does not include implementation goals, timelines, or performance measurements. The policy was made effective October 6, 1998, which was over 12 years ago.
CP 400-11, "Action Plan for Implementation of Water Conservation Techniques,,,2 dated September 21, 1987, is over 23 years old. While it includes implementation goals and timelines, they include dates as early as 1983.
CP 400-12, "Implementation of Water Reclamation/Reuse,,,3 contains few achievement benchmarks, is dated November 28, 1988, which was over 22 years ago, and is in conflict with parts of CP 400-09.
These three policies should be replaced by the "Comprehensive Water Policy." Additional problems with existing policies are identified in my October 1, 2009 memo entitled "Updating the City Council's Water Policies" (Attachment 1).
COMPREHENSIVE POLICY FOR A SUSTAINABLE WATER SUPPLY IN SAN DIEGO The following are my suggestions for the general guiding principles of the new "Comprehensive Water Policy." Principles should include: •
Cohesive elements that are financially and environmentally sound.
Goals which reflect current water treatment, storage, distribution and usage technologies and allow the consideration of new technologies or opportunities.
Consideration of the long-term costs of inaction, such as deferring maintenance.
An implementation plan with timelines and performance measures defined.